Gateway Pundit names wrong man as Las Vegas shooter, has no shame
03 October, 2017, 08:01 | Author: Darrell Baldwin
The worst mass shooting in modern United States history took place last night in Las Vegas, where a gunman killed at least 58 people and injured more than than 515 others, according to the latest reports.
Of course, the 4chan speculation was unfounded and plain wrong, as the police identified 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock from Nevada as the shooter.
Danley was also identified as a registered Democrat by 4chan users, who quickly began piecing together a profile of the man they believed to be the shooter.
Facebook, Google, and Twitter have spent the last several weeks insisting that they are committed to stopping the spread of misinformation and malicious speech on their platforms. The social network put far-right news posts at the top of its page, which alleged the shooter was motivated by left-leaning beliefs.
While the Gateway Pundit removed the story, the site's White House correspondent Lucian Wintrich criticized and mocked reporters who inquired about how the site published the piece. The first link, to a site called mytodaytv.com, appears to have uploaded someone else's video of the shooting to YouTube (the description says the video "may contain copyrighted material"), and embedded it on the site.
Because the misidentified man had minimal search results associated with his name prior to the 4chan accusations, Google's algorithms took the sudden uptick in interest as a breaking story, triggering Google's "Top Stories" feature.
The search results below the top stories did little to help clarify the situation.
And on Facebook, a search for articles about Geary Danley promoted seven links leading to inaccurate stories about him.
The search engine picked up the 4chan story from the broader web, and not from anything it ran in its Google News site, according to the spokesperson.
"This should not have appeared for any queries, and we'll continue to make algorithmic improvements to prevent this from happening in the future", Google said. However, its removal was delayed by a few minutes, allowing it to be screen captured and circulated online. When asked why its Crisis Response and News Stories algorithms failed to catch any of this, we did not get an answer, but Facebook said it is "working to fix the issue that allowed this to happen in the first place and deeply regret the confusion this caused".
Some lawmakers, particularly Democrats, have become increasingly concerned about the ability for tech platforms be unwittingly or purposefully co-opted into perpetuating fake news.
- Danley is a former "high-limit hostess" at a Las Vegas casino.
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